KBYU-FM is bringing Russian pianist Stella Simakova to Utah this week. Simakova will be giving a special performance for BYU faculty, staff, students and the general public tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall.
Simakova will be performing Schubert’s Sonata in A minor, D.784 and Chopin’s Ballade in F minor, Op.52,no.4. Simakova will also take questions from those in attendance. Admission to the event is free, courtesy of KBYU-FM.
Born in St. Petersburg, Simakova began taking piano lessons at the age of five from her father who had decided before Stella was born that she should be a musician. A year later, Simakova had her first lesson with teacher Irna Saravaiskaya who gave encouragement and high hopes that Simakova would indeed realize her father’s premonition.
Simakova continued her studies with Saravaiskaya for the next seven years. She then studied at St. Petersburg’s Special Music School for Gifted Children and later earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Petersburg Conservatory.
Simakova says it is here, in the United States, not in Russia, that she has found her way. Simakova came to the United States in 1991, where she began teaching at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. In 1992, Simakova received the Vladamir Horowitz Scholarship and was admitted to The Julliard School as a student of Bella Davidovich.
Simakova’s accomplishments do not end there. She has received numerous awards, including a special prize in the 1990 Chopin International Music Competition in Warsaw, first prize in the 1990 Chopin Piano National Competition in Russia and Simakova was one of the two top winners of the 1993 Gina Bachauer International Piano Scholarship at The Julliard School.